Why We Read and Write Horror

WhyWe Read and Write Horror

EdgarAllan Poe is considered to be the grandfather of grotesque literaturewhich was usually characterized by death and horror. In fact theemergence of horror movie can be attributed to Poe’s work in hisshort stories in American literature his story were alsocharacterized by twist and turns leaving the audience at the edge oftheir seats (Smith). There are many reasons why people read and writehorror movies. Horror movies introduce the audience into a word ofimagination where the audience the most unusual human thoughts areturned into a reality. In other words, the dirty jokes peoplethinking about become actualized in books and movie theatres. Horrormovies also provide an avenue of entertainment where people go tomovie theatres just to prove to themselves that they can handle aroller coaster ride. However some horror movies and books are meantto be educational tools where the author tells the audience a storyin an attempt to prevent it from happening in real life. In thisessay, the author will draw opinion from five renowned horror authorsin attempt to seek answers on why people read and write about horrormovies.

Accordingto Joyce Oates, in her story “Heat”, she introduces the audienceto “a shy gentle boy with good manners” who eventually turns outto be a murder of two twin girls (Oates516).In the story the two girls were identical twins who were obnoxiousand were inseparable as they could always laugh and giggle even inthe most serious of situations. However, Joyce brings in thecharacter of a shy boy who the audience least expect to be theperpetrator of violent acts and becomes the villain in the story. Inthe story the author also admits that the society was somehow fed upwith the twin’s behavior but nobody spoke up against and thereforetheir death was somewhat of a relief to the community. Joyce Oatesstory is intriguing and shows the audience that sometimes violencecan come from the least expected quarters and hence this prepares theaudience for more twists in horror movies and stories as anybody canbecome a suspect.

GracePaley uses horror in her books as an educational tool. Paly who grewup in the Bronx was exposed to different backgrounds and her storiesrevolve around things she had heard or seen for herself. Paley’sstories which involve murder involve a lot of creativity and take atoll on the author but all this is never in vain as she utters thatshe tells her stories in order to prevent them from happening. Sheinsists that “if you write it into literature it won’t happen inlife.” In other words, by sharing her story with the audience thesociety learns about the experience in the book and this discouragesthe society from performing such acts. In the story of the littlegirl, Paley tells the story of a young girl who is lured into havingsex with two males and the story tragically ends with her demise at14 years. The author uses vivid description to show how the girlkilled herself. Towards the end of the story, the author says that“she raised herself up that window sill and hook herself on it andthen what I see, she topple herself out (Paley510).”

StephenKing who is a renowned author states that people read and writehorror for several reasons. First of all, King sarcastically suggeststhat all human beings are mentally ill and that the only variant isthe degree of insanity. Steve utters that “if we are all insane,then insanity becomes a matter of degree (King419).”Steve suggests that people enjoy the fun and the negative side ofhuman emotions that is exhibited in movies because it brings outanother side of the human element. Human beings often have sick jokeswhich cannot be actualized in real life but can only be realized inhorror movies and this is the most interesting part in horror movies.This is because people are drawn to a world of imagination where theactors are free to do anything and eventually get away with it asmost characters in the movie go scotch free. Horror movies provide anavenue for entertainment especially for young people who are belowthe age of 40 years. The stories in horror movies often leaves theaudience at the edge of their seats and the experience is onlylikened to that of a roller coaster ride where the audience seeks theadventure in order to prove to themselves that they are not afraid.McEwan also shares the same sentiments as King as he believes thatcontemporary literature is used as a way to gauge people’s moralreach. However, in this case the literature always seems to reach for“the worst possible case (McEwan 514)”.

Inconclusion, horrors can be an avenue for channeling creativity andentertaining audiences. Most people however seek to challengethemselves to read or write such materials in an effort to enhancetheir creativity and also see how far their minds can take as afar ashorror is concerned.


King,Stephen. “WhyWe Crave Horror Movies”,Handout. 418-420. Print.

Paley,Grace. “Thelittle Girl”.Handout. Print. The Paris Review Book of Heartbreak, Modern, Sex,Love, Betrayal, Outsiders, Intoxication, War, Whimsy, Horrors, God,Death, Dinner, Basketball, Travels, The Art of Writing, AndEverything Else in The World since 1953.Eds. Editors of the ParisReview. New York: Picador, 2003. 505-510. Print

OatesCarol, Joyce. “Heat.”TheParis Review Book of Heartbreak, Modern, Sex, Love, Betrayal,Outsiders, Intoxication, War, Whimsy, Horrors, God, Death, Dinner,Basketball, Travels, The Art of Writing, And Everything Else in TheWorld since 1953.Eds. Editors of the Paris Review. New York: Picador,2003. 515-527. Print

McEwan,Ian. “from The Art of Fiction CLXXIII.” The Paris Review Book ofHeartbreak, Modern, Sex, Love, Betrayal, Outsiders, Intoxication,War, Whimsy, Horrors, God, Death, Dinner, Basketball, Travels, TheArt of Writing, And Everything Else in The World since 1953.Eds.Editors of the Paris Review. New York: Picador, 2003. 514. Print

Smith,Nicole. GothicQualities in the Works of Poe.11 December 2011. 6 June 2015&lthttp://www.articlemyriad.com/gothic-qualities-works-poe/&gt.